Kemp’s June turnaround is bright spot amid A’s offensive struggles

TORONTO — Of all the teachings A’s kids can draw from Tony Kemp“the right way to wrestle” is a bizarre however invaluable one.

Kemp’s solo residence run off Yusei Kikuchi offered the A’s with a fleeting glimpse of offensive manufacturing on Sunday afternoon at Rogers Centre, as Oakland managed simply three hits in a 12-1 loss to the Blue Jays within the rubber match.

It was a very painful solution to wrap up a 1-5 street journey. For Kemp, nevertheless, it was one other vibrant spot in his June renaissance.

“The very best two at-bats off of [Kikuchi] got here from Tony,” stated A’s supervisor Mark Kotsay. “ … Tony’s turned it round.”

Kemp was simply late in his first at-bat, sending a fastball up within the zone to shortstop Bo Bichette for a groundout within the third inning. He didn’t miss within the sixth, pulling Kikuchi’s first-pitch fastball a Statcast-projected 369 toes to proper discipline to win the lefty-on-lefty matchup.

With Sunday’s homer — his third of the 12 months — Kemp improved to a .297 batting common with a .921 OPS this month. His season common nonetheless begins with a 1, although, which is an effective indication of the beginning he needed to 2023.

High quality of contact was the largest concern. Kemp didn’t strike out and even chase pitches outdoors the zone that always within the first two months of the season, however poor timing led to weak contact, which in flip generated a irritating quantity of balls on the bottom.

However as an alternative of dwelling, Kemp trusted himself to search out his tempo, work at-bats and regain his kind.

“He’s a professional,” Kotsay stated of Kemp. “He put his head down and saved working and saved grinding, and now he’s getting some outcomes.”

That is what the A’s want from their veterans.

Within the thick of a rebuild, Oakland has searched for each alternative to supply its younger prospects with expertise, however that course of isn’t with out rising pains. The A’s rank final this season in batting common, OPS and slugging share, and their 744 strikeouts are the second-worst mark in MLB.

That’s what makes a man like Kemp particularly vital. Now in his eighth large league season, he’s by no means posted greater than eight residence runs in a 12 months, and that’s not prone to change. What he will be for this staff, although, is an instance.

“He undoubtedly confirmed the younger guys what it means to undergo a wrestle at this degree and proceed to work,” stated Kotsay. “Time is his ally. He is popping out of it and being a real professional.”

Not-so-funky, chilly Medina
Command was the large difficulty for Luis Medina in Sunday’s loss, as he walked a season-worst seven batters in 5 innings, permitting 4 runs (three earned) on 4 hits. The rookie right-hander was greeted by a George Springer leadoff residence run on his second pitch of the day, and issues continued to unravel after that.

“I labored up plenty of 0-2 counts, however I couldn’t discover the zone to complete them off,” Medina stated in Spanish. “I can continue to learn from this outing, but it surely’s already previously.”

It is smart that he’d desire a fast flip of the web page on this one.

Springer’s homer was a tricky blow for Medina, however no play higher illustrated the 24-year-old’s struggles than his fourth run allowed.

After retiring Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. within the backside of the third, Medina walked Matt Chapman on 4 pitches, yielded a single to Cavan Biggio, then surrendered one other stroll to Santiago Espinal. With the bases loaded and No. 8 hitter Kevin Kiermaier on the plate, Medina misplaced his grip on a 1-2 curveball, bouncing it on the dust for a wild pitch that allowed Chapman to attain.

Medina struck out Kiermaier to finish the body, then he pitched two extra scoreless innings, regaining the shape that was totally on show in his earlier outing, when he allowed one earned run with 4 strikeouts and one stroll in 4 1/3 innings in opposition to Cleveland.

“For seven walks, to solely quit 4 runs by 5 innings, he nonetheless acquired out of it,” stated Kotsay. “It’s a part of that rising course of, a part of that maturation. You’re going to have video games like that from younger starters. He competed; he gave us every part he had. We’ll consider it and transfer ahead.”

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Printed : 2023-06-25 22:07:30

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